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Family law: Are there restrictions when naming a child?

Some children are given names today that no one would have even considered years ago. Celebrities seem to have paved the way with names like Apple, Moon Unit, North and the like. But, are there restrictions in Canada under family law, when it comes to giving children non-traditional names? It seems it depends upon the province in which the child is born and will reside.

Quebec seems to be the province with the most child-naming rules, including the stipulation that a child can't be given more than four names. Not far behind is British Columbia, which says the courts can step in and ask parents to change the name of a child if it deems the name not to be in the best interests of the child. The rule comes under the provincial Vital Statistics Act.

In Saskatchewan, a child's name can't be offensive or confusing, and the province won't register any names it deems unfit. Other provinces like Ontario don't have any concerns about names. The only rule in Ontario is that people can't use a symbol for their child's name.

In British Columbia, a lawyer would be able to help his or her client when it comes to rules having to do with family law, like the naming of children. There may be many laws and regulations with which people are not familiar, and a lawyer would likely be able to provide the answers. Should parents have an unusual name in mind for their child, consulting a lawyer about it may be a wise step. 

Source:, "Can you name your child anything you want?", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Dec. 22, 2017

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